Deep Fried Squid Rings
Calle de Botoneras is a small alley just off the south-east corner of Plaza Mayor in Madrid. It is home to Bar La Campana and Bar La Ideal which are institutions on the Madrid tapas scene thanks to their bocadillos de calamares. Whilst this sandwich is no more than deep fried squid rings served on crusty bread, these bars are always packed with Madrileños and visitors who come to savour one of the capital’s iconic dishes. A similar version of this fried squid sandwich is served in Cantabria on the north coast where it is called a bocadillo de rabas.
When preparing Calamares a la Romana at home it’s best if you can buy fresh squid which has already been cleaned and cut into rings. Otherwise you’ll need to buy the full squid and cut it into rings yourself.
Serves 4 – 6
- 450g of squid rings or approximately 600g of whole squid
- 6 heaped tablespoons of plain flour
- sunflower oil for deep frying
- 2 lemons cut into wedges
- salt and pepper
If you are using whole squid start by cleaning it. Hold the body in one hand and the head in the other and gently pull them apart. Throw the entrails away. Pull out the spine which runs the length of the body and wash the squid well.
Cut the body into rings about 1-1.5cm wide. Slice the wings into strips and cut the tentacles from the head and discard the heads. Put the squid in a bowl with 4 lemon wedges – don’t squeeze the juice from the wedges – and leave to marinate in the fridge for 1 or 2 hours.
In a deep bowl combine the flour, salt and pepper. Don’t be tempted to leave the salt out as this is what brings out the flavour of the squid. You could add 1 teaspoon of paprika if you would like a smoky taste but I don’t think it is really necessary. Leave this mixture to the side.
When you are ready to cook, pour the sunflower oil into your deep fat fryer or a deep saucepan on a medium heat until it is smoking hot. It is very important that the oil is very, very hot. Dip the squid in the bowl of seasoned flour making sure they are coated thoroughly.
Once the oil is hot drop a large handful of squid into it and fry for about 1 minute until it is golden brown. Remove the squid from the oil using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Fry the remaining squid in the same way but make sure the oil is still very hot.
Be careful not to add too much of the squid to the fryer at one time as this will cause the oil to cool too much and the flour will absorb too much of the oil.
Serve with lemon wedges on the side.